Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Russian Men Barred From Entering Ukraine Amid Escalating Crisis

Ukraine’s new front is Europe’s big challenge Russia's Capture of Ukrainian Ships Capture Shows It Can't Be Trusted: Mattis
Andrew Cummings | 01 December, 2018, 05:46

President Petro Poroshenko, in an interview with the German Bild newspaper, said "we hope that in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, states are now ready to relocate naval ships to the Sea of Azov in order to assist Ukraine and provide security".

Ukraine toughened its stance in its increasingly tense confrontation with Russia on Friday, banning entry to all Russian men of fighting age in what Ukraine's president said was an effort to prevent the Kremlin from destabilizing the country.

"This meeting is necessary for both sides", Ushakov told reporters.

The skipper of the Ukrainian flotilla, Volodymyr Lisovyi, said, "I deliberately ignored requests via ultra-short-wave band and was aware of the provocative nature of our actions".

"As far as Ukraine is concerned - not the state itself, but mostly Pyotr Poroshenko, who is now ruling the country - it is just horrifying to talk about tit-for-tat responses", Zakharova said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also condemned what he called the "aggressive Russian action".

The goal, they worry, is to dominate the Ukrainian coast between Russian Federation proper and the Crimean peninsula that Moscow annexed in 2014. Moscow said the vessels had illegally entered the Russian territorial waters.

The Sea of Azov became a virtual Russian lake, access to which was controlled by Russia, just as access to the Black Sea is controlled by Turkey.

In recent months, Russian Federation has been deploying more forces in and around the Sea of Azov, stopping and searching almost 300 commercial vessels in an attempt to pressure Ukraine economically.

Russian TV station Dozhd on Friday quoted Kogershyn Sagiyeva, a member of the Moscow oversight council that is allowed to inspect prisons, as saying that 21 seamen have been transferred to the Moscow Lefortovo jail while three other seamen are in a hospital in another jail.

President Poroshenko said the worldwide community must not accept Russia's aggressive policy, in an interview with German newspaper Bild.

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Ukraine's navy here has been told to stay in port, at a heightened state of readiness, in a bid to not further aggravate the Russian military who appear to have free rein in the Sea of Azov, all the way down to the Kerch Strait.

The Moscow Patriarchate strongly denies this and says it is working to promote peace in Ukraine.

Ukrainian border guards say all non-Ukrainians will be barred from crossing into the Russia-occupied Crimean peninsula by land after martial law went into effect.

That year saw the start of an armed conflict in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russian-backed separatists that has claimed more than 10,000 lives.

The vessels were stopped from entering the Kerch Strait and confronted by Russian FSB border guards.

Whatever Putin's true objective are, the Russians seem increasingly focused on making things as turbulent as possible for Ukraine.

Russia is calling on the United Nations, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and other worldwide organizations to pay attention to violations of human rights in that country, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Friday.

The upper chamber approved the resolution by unanimous consent late Thursday, hours after Trump announced on Twitter he was canceling a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin that had been scheduled for Saturday in Buenos Aires.

The state-run TASS news agency also reported Friday the captured sailors will remain in jail for two months during an investigation.

He added that there needs to be increased pressure on Moscow, including stopping the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is being built under the Baltic Sea and would bypass Ukraine to deliver gas directly to Germany.

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